Not until 2009 did residents seem to become interested in community gardens. "We had so many questions we didn't have enough staff to answer," says Kamla Lewis, director of the city's neighborhood revitalization department. Thanks to a city website geared to bring residents together, new community gardens opened last year at Christ Episcopal, Rolliston Road and Cheshire Road.
Last summer, Bay Village marked off 80 plots in the corner of an underutilized 5-acre field at Wolfe Road and Forest View for community gardening. The sellout prompted the city's Green Team to add 45 more this summer (which have already been snatched up), says Mayor Deborah Sutherland. "It's not just individuals but church groups and restaurateurs who have plots for heirloom tomatoes they are taking to their restaurants," she says.
The Lakewood Earth and Food (LEAF) Community hit a serious growth spurt. Starting with six plots, the community garden effort has grown to 150, adding plots at Kauffman Park this summer, hosting four community supported agricultural programs and earning nonprofit status. "We're looking to do some substantial improvements to the gardens, such as fencing and composting," says LEAF president Margaret Brinich.